Technology has improved people’s lives in many different ways. People can live longer, healthier lives because of technological advancements. A student can access vast resources of information to complete assignments and a mother can see and talk to a daughter that is thousands of miles away. The advancements in the way people access information, communicate with one another, and complete tasks have allowed for flexibility in the workplace. It has also created a lack of distinction between work and family time.
The Price of a 24-7 World
Technology has helped to create a global workplace where people can do business with companies all over the world. It is also possible for companies with satellite offices in other countries to collaborate as seamlessly as they would with a team that works across the street. This has opened doors to new income streams and partnerships for even the smallest organizations.
With email, text, instant messaging, and fax, people can communicate instantaneously. With the advancement in smart phones, laptops, and tablets, employees are able to leave the office but still do their work.This has allowed more employees to bring their work home with them. While such access does allow them to spend more time at home, it has blurred the lines between work and life. If the boss sends a text at eleven at night, does the employee have to answer it? When should a person shut down the laptop and spend time with friends and family?
Technology also allows some employees to work from home offices full-time and they never have to visit their place of business. While telecommuting eliminates the need to drive to the office, the ability to work from home can make work consume a person’s life. What was once a forty hour a week job can easily become a sixty hour a week job. In this scenario, the person will have no time to enjoy life.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
It is important to draw a distinction between work and life. People who are constantly tied to their jobs deal with the symptoms of stress and burnout. If a person doesn’t have a time to relax and recharge, their ability to do their job decreases and their performance level suffers.
Those who don’t take time away from their job often end up getting sick more often because they don’t eat properly, don’t get enough sleep, and don’t take the time to exercise. Thus, from a management point of view, it is important to encourage a person to take time off from work instead of putting in long hours. An employee that spends time with friends and family can return to work refreshed and ready to do their job.
Creating a schedule that allows a person to do activities they enjoy will help them to be better employees, friends, and family members. Once the time to work is over the person needs to learn to walk away from the laptop and not answer the cell phone for work calls. This type of balance is not easy to achieve because there will always be people who want to make demands on an individual’s time. People need to learn that it is okay to say no and only agree to take on additional tasks if they are important.
Without creating a work-life balance a person isn’t able to take time to enjoy the life they have worked so hard to create. They aren’t available for friends and family members, and often take their stress out on the ones they love. They can also suffer from illness and physical disorders that stem from prolonged stress such as heart disease, alcoholism, and even diabetes.
The advancements in the way people access information, communicate with one another, and complete tasks have allowed for flexibility in the workplace but have also created a lack of distinction between work and family. If a person doesn’t have a time to relax and recharge, their ability to do their job decreases and their performance level suffers. But an employee that spends time with friends and family can return to work refreshed and ready to do their job.